Creators Push For Fair Remuneration At WIPO General Assembly 29/09/2014 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Creative artists came to the ongoing World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly to encourage governments to build a sustainable future for creators and ensure fair remuneration for their work. This may mean looking for ways to redistribute the value of content. Composer Jean-Michel Jarre at WIPO event The annual WIPO General Assembly is taking place from 22-30 September. The 23 September side event, organised by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), gathered a number of international “creators”, including musicians, authors, painters, visual artists, and writers. They all mentioned threats to the sustainability of authors in current business models born out of the digital age. CISAC represents 230 collective management societies in 120 countries, which collect fees on behalf of artists. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, speaking at the close of the side event, said, “I also would be very concerned that in the new economy… there is an unhealthy concentration of value in the distribution function.” “Who is making the money here?” asked WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “The Googles, the Amazons, all the distributors … and up until now the distributors have not really been investing in content production.” “Who is making the money here?” he asked. “The Googles, the Amazons, all the distributors … and up until now the distributors have not really been investing in content production.” “We do have an incredible concentration of value in the distribution function, which causes us to be concerned about the future of content production,” he added. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry According to Gurry, there have been three broad phases since the internet “came on board”. The first was the “resistance phase” as creators resisted the online environment. Then a second phase “was really provoked by Apple and iTunes, where they forced more or less everyone online.” However, they used a model similar to the analogue world, “namely you own the piece of content.” “The third phase that we are now witnessing is different,” he said, as it is a phase where people tend not to own things but have access to them. That is the success of the subscription and streaming models, he said. “What we can learn from the third phase,” he said, is that “ease of access helps with compliance.” However, it does not replace the need for enforcement frameworks, Gurry specified, underlining the need to “work on a functional global digital marketplace.” More Access, Less Revenue, Panellists Say At CISAC, “we see ourselves as the United Nations of creators,” Jean-Michel Jarre, a world-renowned French electronic music composer and president of CISAC, told the event. CISAC, he said, unites creators “from every corner of the world” to help them project their rights so that they can live off their creations. The creative industry plays an important economic role, he said. However, “creators remain at the mercy of people controlling the diffusion of their works,” he contended. “We are the most vulnerable element in this ecosystem.” Resale Rights Hervé di Rosa, a French visual artist, said some 95 percent of revenue goes to about 10 percent of creators, underlining the economic difficulties of most creators. He particularly stressed the need to establish an international treaty governing resale rights. Resale rights give creators the right to receive a royalty based on the sale price obtained for the resale of their work, after the first purchase. Di Rosa mentioned European Directive 2001/84/EC, which provides creators with the benefits of resale right within the European Union. He said 15 years after the EU legislation was adopted concerns about the implementation of the legislation and in particular fears that this would impact the art market in Europe have been dissipated. At the May session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), Senegal and Congo proposed that artists’ resale rights be added as a new area of work for the SCCR. This was supported by a number of countries, such as France, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Italy and the groupof Central European and Baltic States. The US, Japan, and Switzerland asked to consider the proposal further and remarked on the already full agenda of the committee (IPW, WIPO, 5 May 2014). Indian Copyright Amendment under Fire Vinod Ranganath, Indian playwright, screenwriter and director, said a 2012 amendment to the Indian Copyright Act, passed under the pressure from authors, was seen as a “great victory” for proponents. In particular, it rendered royalties inalienable, he said. That means that authors cannot be forced through a contract with a broadcasting companies or film producers to sign off on royalties, he said. However, according to Ranganath, the new amendment was resented by industry. The largest networks and broadcasters in India are United States companies, he said, such as Fox, Warner and Disney. They set up an umbrella organisation called the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and challenged the amendment in November 2013. Authors are now fighting along with the government, he said. 100 Percent Drop in Revenue Eddie Schwartz, a Canadian songwriter based in Nashville, Tennessee (US), gave some “hard numbers” about the situation of music creators. Citing a personal example, he said that in the analogue physical product world, “if one of my songs …sold one million copies, somewhere down the road I would receive something like US$45,000.” Although he did not become a rich person, he said, “I could dedicate my life to the creation of my art and support myself in a modest but fine way.” In the digital world, he said, a stream on Sony ATV, a music publishing company, of one of his songs is worth US$0.000035, which for one million streams would translate to US$ 35. “I have gone from USD$45,000 a year, to a pizza.” he said. “That is a 100 percent drop in revenue,” he added. Jarre said big companies, broadcasters and internet actors are not creators’ enemies. “They need us and we need them,” he said. “We were existing before electricity and we will exist after the internet,” he said, but “we need to organise a decent and fair system for remunerating our work.” Other panellists were Daphna Levin, Israeli screenwriter and director, and Angèle Diabang, Senegalese film director and producer. Paris-based CISAC claims to represent some 3 million creators across artistic repertoires such as music, audiovisual, drama, literature and visual arts. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Creators Push For Fair Remuneration At WIPO General Assembly" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.